Thursday, February 09, 2017

Company One Presents The New England Premiere of "Really" by Jackie Sibblies Drury - Through March 4th

Company One can always be relied upon to offer provocative plays that push the boundaries of traditional theater. The current production of "Really" by Jackie Sibblies Drury follows that tradition, for it is being performed in the intimate Matter & Light Fine Art gallery in the SoWa Arts District. With support from neighboring Gallery Kayafas. Prior to the play, audience members wander through the two art galleries, examining and thinking about a collection of photographs. The play itself examines the intricate interplay between the science and art of photography and human memory.

I first became aware of Ms. Drury's work in 2014 when Company One produced her critically acclaimed play, "We Are Proud To Present A Presentation About The Herero Of Namibia Formerly Known As Southwest Africa From The German Sudwestafrika Between The Years 1884-1915."
The playwright looks at life through her own unique set of lenses and filters, offering a glimpse at situations, individuals, and relationships that cause the audience to see them in a new light.

In "Really," three characters interact in the small space of a studio apartment that had been shared by photographer, Calvin (Aleksandr Portenko), and his girlfriend (Rachel Cognata). Calvin is no longer there, and his girlfriend has remained in the apartment after it appears that Calvin has died - although the backstory of what happened to Calvin is left purposefully nebulous - or should I say "undeveloped." Calvin's mother (Kippy Goldfarb) drops by for an awkward visit, during which time she poses for a portrait by the girlfriend, who is also a budding artist and photographer. The girlfriend struggles to find just the right shot that might capture the mother in a moment of humanity, breaking through the mask of decency and propriety that she wears. The mother is struggling to suppress her grief, and apparent rage, somehow blaming the girlfriend for Calvin's demise. The apparently deceased Calvin interacts both with the girlfriend and the mother. The playwright is bending time in a way that a photograph alters our perception of time and memory, making the past present once again as we remember the substance behind the two dimensional image.

Rachel Cognata as Girlfriend
"Really" by Jackie Sibblies Drury
Company One
Matter & Light Fine Art
Through March 4th
Under the skillful direction of Shawn LaCount, the three actors are very effective in focusing our attention on the narrative and on the underlying philosophical and aesthetic questions that Ms. Drury is posing. A good artist uses blank space as well as solid imagery to tell a story. In the same way, the playwright uses silence and awkward pauses, interspersed by the sound of a camera's shutter clicking, to depict the passage of time. At the end of the play, the audience is invited to peruse a collection of photographic portraits, and to interact with the actors.

Supporting this production are Amanda Mujica with Costume Design, Jason Fok with Lighting Design, Ben Lieberson with Scenic Design, Misha Shields with Choreography, and Lee Schuna with Sound Design.

It was a unique and satisfying evening of theater art and graphic art wedded together and beautifully framed. The play will run through March 4th.

Company One Website



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